AASU On International Day Of The Remembrance Of The Transatlantic Slave Trade And Its Abolition---23 August
The period 15th to 19th centuries constituted one of the darkest moments in human history. During that time the tragedy of transatlantic slave trade occurred whereby millions of able and energetic Africans were enslaved and transported by Europeans in inhuman conditions to the Americas. Hence Africa was not only deprived of her able and most energetic people but also millions of these slaves died during that shameful journey.
The United Nations (UN) has declared 23rd August as the International Day of the Remembrance of Transatlantic Slave Trade and its Abolition to remind people of the tragedy of this trade and give them the chance to think about its historic causes, methods and consequences.
The choice of Day was not fortuitous. Indeed it was during the night of 22 to 23 August 1791 that men and women torn from Africa and sold into slavery, revolted against the slave system to obtain freedom and independence for Haiti in 1804. The bravura of these African men and women to challenge the obnoxious slave system was a turning point in human history and believed to have greatly impacted on the establishment of universal human rights.
But has the transatlantic slave trade been really abolished? No! The reality is that it has been metamorphosing to adapt itself to the new circumstances. First the slave system changed its methods to become a colonial system and then to the current neocolonial one. The end results are the same; the domination and exploitation of the resources of the African continent.
The accomplishments of the slaves in Haiti in 1791 that should have been a deep source of inspiration today, has been given lip service in the fight against all forms of servitudes, economic and social injustices. The storm of rage, cruelty and bitterness created by the slave trade should have galvanize all democratic forces to create a more just international economic relation instead of a world where the gap between the developing and developed countries on one side and the haves and have-nots in general on the other is widening by the day.
Africans particularly the leaders have the responsibility to put an end to the umbilical relations between them and their former colonial masters. Otherwise how come France is still the guarantor of the currency of its “former” colonial countries in Africa? While France is enormously benefiting from this situation by billions of CFA francs yearly, these African countries are just collecting the remnants and going around borrowing, at exorbitant interests, huge sums of money for their developmental projects.
The courage and the pride of our forefathers should serve as unifying factors and bedrocks in our quest for sustainable development. The unity of Africans is their strength in all the efforts aimed at building a better world characterized among others by a more just international socio-economic and cultural order.
On this occasion the All Africa Students Union (AASU) would like to call on all African youth particularly the students to undertake various activities to mark the Day and conduct deep reflections on how to embark the African continent on the path of genuine development.
Long live International Day of the Remembrance of Transatlantic Slave Trade and its Abolition!